Can we reveal the inner world of teachers? Some research issues

Yim Wan Annie NICHOLSON

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Assuming that what teachers do depends a great deal on what they think, research on teacher thinking is therefore considered necessary to understand teaching. To study teacher thinking systematically, researchers have to "reveal" the inner world of teachers, where the hidden entities and invisible processes, such as knowledge, memory, feelings, motivation, problem-solving and decision-making, take place. In order to illuminate and understand teacher thinking, a diversity of research methods and techniques have been used. Often they are qualitative in nature. Sources of information can be obtained from teachers' self-reports, interviews, observation, and documents. Teachers' own voice and reflection are obviously the most important source as compared to the other second-hand information. Some of the efforts to illuminate teacher thinking are narrative and story-telling, biography and autobiography, metaphor, and descriptions of personal construct. However, to conduct research to understand teachers' minds and thinking, including how they conceive and perceive (interpret) their own teaching, how they make judgements, and why they choose to act in particular way, is no easy task. It becomes even more complicated when the second stage of transformation occurs when the researcher makes sense of the data through the processes of description-analysis-interpretation. The transformation goes on when the readers construe the meanings of the data interpreted by the researcher. This paper attempts to address the issue of interpretation and some other concerns, in relation to conducting research in areas of teaching thinking.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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teacher
research method
Teaching
interpretation
source of information
metaphor
decision making
narrative
interview

Citation

Nicholson, A. Y. W. (1996, September). Can we reveal the inner world of teachers? Some research issues. Paper presented at British Educational Research Association (BERA) Annual Conference 1996, Lancaster University, England.